The establishment of the Integrated Border Post in Batugade, Salele (Suai) and Sakato (Oecusi) is an important accomplishment of this government. It clearly demonstrates strategic step to achieve multiple objectives including harmonization of border services among the national agencies such as Customs, Immigration, Border Patrol Unit, Quarantine, Heal Unit, and others and better prevention and combat of crimes in border area, in particular the so-called global and transnational crimes.
With this in mind, on 4 February 2012, the President of RDTL Jose Ramos Horta, Prime Minister of RDTL Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Minister of Finance Emilia Pires, Minister of Tourism Commerce and Industry, Gil da Costa Alves, and other members of Timor Leste Government as well as distinguished invitees from Indonesia including the Military Commander of NTT Province attended the inauguration ceremony.
Vice Minister of Finance Rui Manuel Hanjam as the coordinator of the inauguration event in his opening remarks informed that the functioning of the IBP will be made by national agencies as mentioned above under the guidance and procedures from their respective offices, as well as common operating procedures that will be developed further. He underlined that the operation of the IBP will be made in shifts and rotation system which will be properly decided by the COM in due time. This is aimed to ensure good coordination and management of the IBPs and to avoid boring and mal practices.
The Batugade IBP is one of the 3-IBPs package, constructed by the Indonesian company Carya Timor since 2010, while the remaining two others in Salele (Suai) and Sakato (Oecusi) will be inaugurated in due time, as the latter still faces some sort of land clearance.
Minister of Finance Emilia Pires in her speech pointed out that the IBP “will act as a trigger for enhancing the facilitation of trade while at the same time improving the security of Timor-Leste”. She recognized that the “Dili–Kupang corridor has been a trade route for commerce entering and departing Timor-Leste, allowing the legitimate movement of goods and collects revenue which is important for sustaining our national budget”. “The system will have online services and real time access to the Dili main frames”, Ms Pires added.
Minister Pires reminded that with this pleasant environment at the Batugade IBP it is expected to minimize the number of illegal border crossings and other criminal activities. However, she emphasized that interagency cooperation at the national and international level, as well as human resource training and development strategy are required to meet these objectives. In addition Minister Pires also expects to have: “regular coordination meetings; common training and working procedures; joint operational arrangements with clearly identified responsibilities for each agency; set up mechanisms for exchange of information and where possible joint threat/risk assessments; and take positive steps towards implemented a Single Windows approach as recommended by ASEAN”.
Finally, Minister Pires would like to hear more positive feedbacks from the Border Operations Coordination Committee (BOCC), soon so as to better guarantee the operation and development of the IBPs according to its objectives.
The President of Republic, Jose Ramos Horta congratulated the Government led by PM Xanana Gusmao for this excellent accomplishment. He appreciated the proactive efforts of this government to realize the dream of having integrated border post since the first government. He said that the IBP will certainly benefit the economy and strengthen trade relationship with Indonesia. He also said that the IBP is expected to minimize and prevent illegal trade and other associated crimes in the border area.
Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Gil Alves in his speech said that the presence of the IBP does not only benefit the country with better control of movement of goods through the IBP but will also facilitate the traditional market in the border area. The traditional market in the border area is the ground for the communities in both sides (TL and Indonesia) to do their small business transactions which basically are cheap. The presence of the IBP is also expected to facilitate the border community to sell and buy products according to the socio economic transformation not just based on traditional products such as “kangkung, and other modest products.